Today’s PhysioRoom Blog is going to take a look at wobble cushions and boards. What they are, what they do, and how they can help with injury rehabilitation and even with kids with ADHD
Now of course, both wobble boards and cushions both have several benefits, many falling at cross section between the two.
But we’re going to look at what we feel are the best uses of wobble boards and cushions.
Wobble Boards and Injury Rehab
Injury rehab is always one of the most challenging periods of anyone’s lives, especially if said injury limits mobility for an extended period of time.
While recovering, not only must you focus on repair, but also strengthening, as the worst thing that can happen is a relapse where you suffer the same injury, or another because of that weak linked you didn’t strengthen has cause another injury via over-compensation.
So, how can wobble boards help exactly?
When we think about balance, we have to think about proprioception, which is your ability to make sense of your environment and move your body as one entity accordingly. Think of all the body parts and movements involved in simply running toward a football and kicking it, it’s actually quite complex.
Proprioception can be worked on just as any other skill, beginning on the floor, but once that becomes easy, the instability of a wobble board allows for a more dynamic balance training session.
Balancing on the flat, unstable surface challenges your muscles and improves that proprioception by ensuring greater neuromuscular activation. This results in better balance and stability, meaning things like changing direction are quicker and more efficient.
We have a range of Wobbles board by PhysioRoom and Reebok, take a look online for our wobble boards UK.
In order to balance, you must learn the skill of keeping your centre of gravity over your base of support. When you test your balance on something like a wobble board, it makes both sides of your brain communicate, improving coordination.
Throw in some arm or leg movements and your challenge this neuromuscular communication even further. Slow and controlled balance exercises will increase your self-awareness and mental focus.
Another great benefit is the ability to improve your functional strength. No muscle works alone, every movement we make is collaborative, so exercise should always include a variety of movements.
Functional exercises on a wobble board force multiple muscles and joints to stabilise and adjust. Not only that but whenever your body is in an awkward position, your core muscles contract, which means using a wobble board can help develop core and functional strength.
The above benefits, such as improvements in strength, focus and proprioception, all help with reacting to sudden changes in environment, which of course will reduce the risk of injury. A lot of athletes use wobble board training as part of their workout regime for this very reason, as it can strengthen areas like the ankles as working on a board increased their strength and range of motion.
Many athletes use wobble board training in their workout routine as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury. The movement your body makes to adjust so that you remain balanced on the board enhances the range of motion and strength in the ankles. This makes it far less likely for ankles to become the subject of injury when pressure is applied to them. Studies that were performed on those who actively participated in sports such as ball sports and running found that those who included balance training on a wobble board into their regular workout experienced fewer ankle sprains than those who didn’t.
Of course, wobble cushions can be utilised for much of the same things a board can, but cushions have some special applications of their own…
Wobble Cushions and Active Sitting
In recent years there has been significant research in to the idea of ‘active sitting’.
As the world continues to advance technologically, for some, sitting at our desks for extended periods of time has become unavoidable.
From an evolutionary standpoint, the human body was not designed to sit.
Sitting places more strain on our back than when we stand or move around, meaning sitting for long periods can increase stiffness in the lower back and the hip while also weakening the abdominal and core muscles.
Active Sitting on the other hand using something like a wobble cushion, creates an unstable surface to sit on, meaning the body has to correct itself against gravity constantly. This added need for balance encourages the postural muscles to be activated, providing small but beneficial movement to train the muscles of the lower back, core and pelvis.
By constantly having the postural muscles active, it allows them to stay strong and better meet the demands imposed on them in our day to day lives.
If you think the wobble cushion is right for you, take a look at our range of great quality wobble cushions.
Active Sitting and ADHD
There has been research in to kids with ADHD and active sitting. In 2003 a study was published in the American Journal of Occupation Therapy that found that in students with ADHD, sitting on therapy balls(swiss balls) improves behaviour and productivity. It was discovered that students using ball chairs were better able to sit still, focus and write more.
Then in 2007 the Mayo Clinic in Rochester echoed these sentiments by finding that the ability to move around more while sitting made the students more attentive, the study believing this is due to kids being able to burn off excess energy by bouncing or moving.
It’s this movement, when channelled correctly that actually helps students focus. A 2008 National Education Association article featured a research study that found children need to move while performing a complicated mental task.
The study also found that “children, especially those with ADHD fidgeted more when a task required them to store and process information rather than just hold it. This is why students are often restless while doing maths or reading, but not while watching a movie.”
Active sitting by its nature is friendly towards fidgeting, so for those children who can’t resist, it’s a good way of channelling their excess energy in to productive activities.
It acknowledges a child’s need to move, but simultaneously keeps them sitting still enough so teachers and other students can keep going as normal.
PhysioRoom.com Wobble Cushions and Boards
PhysioRoom stocks several different Wobble Cushions and boards to suit every need be it rehab or for active sitting. To check out our full range, click here.
But here’s a couple that you might be able to make use of…
PhysioRoom.com Wobble Cushion Junior
Use the PhysioRoom.com Faster Blaster Dual Action Pump to inflate your Junior Wobble Cushion. It can then be used for balancing exercises and to promote good posture.
An anti-slip surface is featured on one side and the other is designed to stimulate a child’s sensory receptors with tiny bumps.
The rounded shape of the Junior Wobble Cushion means that the user must actively use their supporting muscles to remain stable.
PhysioRoom.com Wooden Wobble Board
The 40cm Wooden Wobble Board has been specifically designed to help treat and prevent knee and ankle injuries and can also be used to help improve your balance.
With a tilt angle of 13 degrees, the wooden wobble board provides an essential tool in the rehabilitation of sports injuries such as sprained ankles, knee ligament injuries and cartilage injuries as well as following knee or ankle surgery.
The circular design of the wooden wobble board allows movement through 360 degrees of motion, which helps to improve joint motion and challenges your body’s ability to perform complex movements.